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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

On December 29, 2014 Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upheld Ruling that Lifetime Registration for Juveniles is Unconstitutional

 
A Pennsylvania law that requires juveniles (between 14-18 years old) who commit the most serious types of sex crimes to register with police for life is unconstitutional because it breeches the youngsters' civil rights. 

In a 5-1 decision Pennsylvania’s highest court upholds earlier rulings by judges in York and Montgomery counties against the juvenile sex offender registration rules of the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). 

The Pennsylvania Legislature passed the mandate in 2011 to align with the Federal law, Adam Walsh Act AWA/SORNA. 
 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Vera Institute Report on Collateral Consequences of Felony Convictions: All But 9 States (Virginia Being One of the 9) Have Taken Steps to Limit the “Damage” to Former Offenders (and their families) to Reintegrate Successfully Back Into Our Communities

 
Report: Most States 'Rethinking' Collateral Consequences

All but nine states have taken steps since 2009 to limit the damage that having a criminal record can cause for those who have already served time, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. 

An individual's criminal history can disrupt access to social benefits, limit employment opportunities and certain civil rights, but between 2009 and 2014, 41 states and the District of Columbia passed 155 bills designed "to mitigate the burden of collateral consequences for individuals with certain criminal convictions," according to the report. 

Researchers for the report right that "states have pursued seven broad approaches" to "rethinking the collateral consequences of conviction": 
 

The National Missing and Exploited (NCMEC) Official Bi-Annual U.S. Sex Offender Count Jumped by 44,618 in 6 Months Approximately the Same Growth They've Claimed For the Last 3-4 Years. How Does That Work Out?

Back in June I posted about the National Missing and Exploited (NCMEC) official bi-annual US Sex Offender counts, I was questioning their accuracy for the last 9 years. Early on there were huge jumps, then almost no total growth for 3-4 years (June 2010-716,750 , June 2011-739,853 , July 2012-722,499  and May 2013-751,538 ) while Virginia consistently added an average of 21 new people to our Registry every week and then California’s counts dropped significantly from 2012 to June 2104. None of it made sense!
 

A One Year Investigation into How Law Enforcement Conducts Controversial Sex “Predator” Stings

 
Well worth the long read (see the below article). 

Makes me wonder how many Virginians who’ve been swept up in these Internet stings run by local jurisdictions and the ICAC’s of Southern and Northern Virginia and are sent to prison plus labeled a Violent Sex Offender on the VSP Registry for life weren’t actually doing anything illegal or were contacted over and over again by someone misrepresenting themselves? The State has the grant money year after year, not only are they required to use it but if they can claim these programs are successful then they’ll get more money next year from additional resources. 

All while our Virginia State & Federal Legislators/Officials claim it’s protecting our children from those "deviant, heinous Sexual Predators" using it as fodder for their re-election campaigns. 

But do they..... really? 

Mary  

Investigating the Investigators, December 29, 2014
By Noah Pransky

TAMPA BAY, Florida - A drawn-out struggle to obtain public records has started to yield results for 10 Investigates, as local agencies have started releasing limited records – and providing insight – regarding how law enforcement conducts controversial sex "predator" stings. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Washington Post Columnist Colbert King Says He Believes in Lifting Up the Lowly and Making Sure the Hungry Have Something to Eat, Unless You're a Registered Sex Offender!

 
Mr. King of the Washington Post, 


I have been following the news on Eulis Knox living in the D.C. shelter as a Registered Sex Offender (RSO) along with his girlfriend and her daughter. There have been no claims of abuse by Mr. Knox at the shelter. I have noticed how many reporters and columnists have included the story of Relisha Rudd who was taken by a shelter employee who was NOT an RSO attempting to connect the two issues as one simply because of the location. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Christmas Eve Homily of Pope Francis: Wishes of Courage, Tenderness and Warmth for the World

 
‘How do we welcome the tenderness of God?’ Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily, December 24, 2014

Pope Francis delivered the following Christmas Eve homily at the Vatican: 

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Isaiah 9:1). “ An angel of the Lord appeared to (the shepherds) and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). This is how the liturgy of this holy Christmas night presents to us the birth of the Savior: As the light which pierces and dispels the deepest darkness. The presence of the Lord in the midst of his people cancels the sorrow of defeat and the misery of slavery, and ushers in joy and happiness.
 
We too, in this blessed night, have come to the house of God. We have passed through the darkness which envelops the earth, guided by the flame of faith which illuminates our steps, and enlivened by the hope of finding the “great light.. By opening our hearts, we also can contemplate the miracle of that child-sun who, arising from on high, illuminates the horizon. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

America Continues to Dehumanize Former Offenders Who Have Paid Their Court-Ordered Debt to Society by Exacerbating the Difficulties of Reintegration with Personal Attacks, Gross Distortions, Hateful Diatribes, Mean-Spirited Discussions, Vitriol and Old Testament Retribution

 
Once punished, criminals deserve a second chance, December 15, 2014
By Bruce Maiman

It was a troublesome Facebook post from a conservative talk show host at a Santa Rosa radio station. Promoting an upcoming segment, last week’s post read: 

“Former KGO Radio Talk Show Host Bernie Ward, convicted of child pornography seven years ago, is going to be released from federal prison in time for Christmas. Where will he go? Are your children safe? Is he truly rehabilitated as he claims?” 

In some 100 comments, most called Ward, who was politically liberal, all sorts of vile names in the firm conviction that “There is NO rehab for these kinds of animals!” 
 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another Special Election for Virginia, This One Has the Shortest Nominee and Campaign Time-Frame Ever! It is for the Virginia House of Delegates Seat in the 74th District on January 13, 2015, the Seat was Previously Held by Joe Morrissey


For info about the two January 6, 2015 Special Elections go here and here. 

Now, about the January 13, 2015 Special Election set for the day before the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session convenes. 

As most Richmonder’s (and probably many Virginians) know Delegate Joe Morrissey recently took an Alford plea to a non-sexual misdemeanor charge on December 12th avoiding the multiple felonies he was originally charged with. With this “deal” he avoided registration as a Virginia Sex Offender and automatically losing his law license a scenario no other Virginian would have ever been allotted based on the case against him. 

On December 19, 2014 Morrissey resigned his seat in the House of Delegates intending to rerun as the Democratic nominee in a quick-turn-around Special Election set for January 13, 2015 but the Democratic Party of Virginia did not agree with that and nominated someone else on December 22nd in a Firehouse Primary, big hubba baloo on this issue….

The Virginia House of Delegate candidates for the 74th District (including Charles City County, and Henrico County/part and City of Richmond/part) are:             
               Matt Walton      (R) - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Matt-Walton/18589164546
                Joe Morrissey    (I) - https://www.facebook.com/delegate.morrissey    As of 12/24/14 the Campaign/Delegate website wasn’t working, www.joemorrisseyfordelegate.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

In 2008 1,492 Non-Violent RSO’s Were Retroactively Reclassified by the Virginia Legislature to Violent Making Them Lifers on the VSP Registry With No Opportunity to Petition for Removal While Denying Them Due Process, But How Many Were Reclassified in 2006? We Need to Know!

 
For 6 years I have been looking for the number of Non-Violent Sex Offenders who were retroactively re-classified to Violent by the Virginia Legislature in 2006 and then again in 2008 both sessions were prior to me becoming an advocate. 

I’ve previously submitted FOIA’s to the VSP asking for these two totals and I’ve been denied every time. Was it hundreds of citizens? Of was it a couple thousand? Were more swept up by the 2006 change in law than in 2008 or was it the reverse? 

When these 2 retroactive legislative reclassifications occurred it changed these Virginians mandate to re-register from once a year to every 90 days and it eliminated their minimum time listed on the VSP Registry from 15 years to a Lifetime with no option to ever be removed. 

So why does knowing the specific number from 2006 AND 2008 matter? 
 

How Many Yearly VSP Investigations Against RSO's are Filed for Failure to Register or Giving False Information? How Many Result in an Arrest, How About a Conviction? An Average of 18.88% of VSP "Investigations" Result in a Conviction, What a Waste of Time, Effort, Money and Lives!

 
Another chart, (see below).
 
Wouldn’t it be nice to know the costs to the Commonwealth for these yearly
  • Investigations
  • Arrests
  • Convictions
The decline in “Public Tips” over the last two years is very interesting, isn’t it? 

I wonder why they stopped tracking “arrests” last year. 

Have You Ever Wondered How Many Times Virginia’s RSO’s Travel to a VSP Barracks to Update Changes in Their Information Which Isn’t Part of Their Scheduled Re-Registrations? How About How Many VSP Employees/Troopers it Take to Get That Information Updated? In 2014 There Were 6,103 Additional Visits for 3 Out of the 8 Possible Legally Mandated Scenarios!

I was unable to update the charts (below) from the December 19th post for whatever reason, so I was forced to delete the December 19th post and redo it as a December 22nd post with revised data.

I apologize for any confusion -Mary

Now that the 2015 Report  from the Virginia State Police (VSP) on Monitoring Sex Offenders is available I decided to take some data from it that I’ve never broken down previously and chart it for the last 7 years. 

Every time an RSO moves, loses/changes jobs, gets a new phone number (home, work, cell), a new email address (personal, work), enrolls in school, buys or sells a vehicle, etc that information must be updated in-person (there is no electronic system) with the VSP during operating/business hours (Mon-Fri 8:30am - 4pm no evenings, no weekends and no holidays) most likely missing work to remain compliant and avoid a felony.

A VSP Employee/Trooper must take the information from the RSO and fill out a paper form (not electronic), then the paper form is sent to the VSP Headquarters and the changes are entered into the VSP database by another VSP Employee/Trooper and if the changes (like residence, employment or email) requires confirmation another VSP Employee/Trooper must go in-person to verify or send out an email to confirm. 

The numbers that are being tracked by the VSP are right here….

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 2015 Report from Virginia State Police on the Monitoring of Sex Offenders Required to Comply with the Registry - We've Exceeded 21,300 RSO’s AND As of November 2014 1 out of every 148 Adult Males in Virginia is a Registered Sex Offender


                                                          Virginia Sex Offender Registry                                                                           
 
 
2009 Report  Last 12 months as of 12/1/2008
2011 Report          Last 12 months as of 12/1/2010
2013 Report  Last 12 months as of 12/1/2012
2015 Report    Last 13.5 months as of 11/25/2014
Annual Average
 
Quantity of Registered Sex Offenders (RSO's) Incarcerated *
6,750
7,641
8,295
9,138
N/A
 
Quantity of RSO's under VA-DOC Probation Supervision *
2,941
3,420
3,536
3,478
N/A
 
Quantity of RSO's under VA State Police (VSP) Supervision *
5,606
6,562
7,699
8,726
N/A
 
Total RSO's in Virginia *
15,297
17,623
19,530
21,342
N/A
 
RSO Increase from Previous Year
Not Known
1,385
867
1,812
1,008
 
Number of New RSO's Added to Virginia Registry Every Week
Not Known
27
17
17
20
 
Number of New RSO's Added to Virginia Registry Every Month
Not Known
115
72
74
87
 
Ratio of Virginians on the Registry
1 out of every 523
1 out of every 454
1 out of every 410
1 out of every 375
N/A
 
Ratio of Adult (18 year or older) Virginians on the  Registry
1 out of every 401
1 out of every 348
1 out of every 314
1 out of every 287
N/A
 
Ratio of Adult, Males on the Virginia Registry **
1 out of every 207
1 out of every 179
1 out of every 162
1 out of every 148
N/A
 
 
 
 
 
* = 57 weeks not 52 weeks
 
 
State Population Numbers taken from 2010 U.S. Census
 
 
 
 
 
 
*        -January 1st Yearly Virginia State Police (VSP) Report: Monitoring of Registered Sex Offenders for the Governor and General Assembly
 
**     - 95% of the Virginia Registry is Male per 2012 VA Crime Report. VSP declined to reply to both a February 2011 & a May 2012 FOIA request for Male v. Female totals.
12/22/2014

Note: I can email the full chart 2008 to 2014 to anyone who wants to see it; it is just too long to fit on the blog now.

The 2015 Report  from the Virginia State Police (VSP) on Monitoring Sex Offenders is now available on-line for those of you who are interested, I have also added it to the VSP Report page. 

For quick comparison here is the 2014 Report . 

1) From 2009 until 2013 the RSO count was from December 1st so all comparisons were apples to apples. 

Then in the 2014 report is was taken from October 16th (six weeks earlier than previous years) making the growth look extremely low and making comparisons more like apples to oranges. 

So for 2015 would they go back to December 1st or continue on with October 16th as the jumping off point? 

Ahhhhhhh, neither! 

This year the count of RSO’s in Virginia was taken on November 25th, five days earlier than most years but 40 days later than the 2014 count. 

So keep this in mind when I cover growth of the Virginia registry. 
 

2015 Virginia General Assembly Session Begins in 4 Weeks on Wednesday January 14, 2015 in Richmond, VA

Just a few reminders…….. 

How a Bill Becomes a Law in Virginia outlines the process of a bill moving through the Virginia Legislature as well as the short and long session. 

7 out of the last 10 Virginia General Assemblies the #1 Bill Submissions requiring a Fiscal Impact Statement were “Sex Offender” bills. 

To follow proposed legislation that affects current Registered Sex Offenders, creates new Sex Offenders or changes relevant law in Virginia keep checking the 2015 Virginia G.A. - Proposed Legislation page. 

To contact Virginia Delegates and Senators who sit on the 3 Committees that hear the proposed legislation that affects current Registered Sex Offenders, creates new Sex Offenders or changes relevant law in Virginia go to the 2015 Virginia G.A. - Committee Members page. 

Three new brochures I will be sharing with Virginia’s 140 Legislators and members of the public, lobbyists, State employees and other advocates who visit the Virginia General Assembly building during the 2015 session:
  1. October 2014 - Building a Better Registry Brochure 

The 113th U.S. Congress Has Adjourned So All Pending Legislation Has Expired Including the International Megan’s Law HR4573

 
The 113th Congress (2013 & 2014) adjourned on December 17, 2014 for the holiday season; all members that did not run for re-election or win re-election are packing up.

When the US Congress and Senate members return on January 6, 2015 they and all the newly elected members will be sworn in to begin the 114th Congress (2015 to 2016). 

This means all pending bills (proposed legislation) that did not pass both chambers (US House/Congress and the US Senate) before yesterday have expired.  So any action items for Federal Legislation are no longer active (including the International Megan’s Law) and I have removed the widgets from the right side of the Home page of all the bills to watch.

New Federal proposals with new bill numbers will begin to be submitted in January 2015 (including many duplicates from 2014) the 2015 bills will remain active until the end of 2016 unless they fail the first chamber, fail the second chamber or signed by the President and become law. 

As the new Federal bills are posted in 2015 I will add their widgets with the bill numbers, patrons, title and brief summary to the right side menu but there may be a bit of delay as the 2015 Virginia General Assembly will begin on January 14th and bills here in the Commonwealth will take precedence.
 

WSET - Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke, Virginia Takes a Texas Story and Tries to Turn it Into a Virginia Problem and the Need for Another Legal Restriction Against Virginia RSO’s


I almost didn’t post this article because by doing so someone is going to get the great idea to propose a law which is exactly why WSET ran the story. 

But WSET already started the ball rolling so my post can’t be to blame. 

Mary
 

Business Won't Say If They Do Background Checks on Local Mall Santas, December 17, 2014
Update:
Lynchburg, VA - A Baytown, Texas man dressed up as Santa Claus, but he is a registered sex offender... who served time for sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy.
There are no laws there to keep it from happening... and as we told you -- here in Virginia either.
So ABC 13 checked with River Ridge mall in Lynchburg to see if they do background checks.
They told us they contract with an outside company for their Santas - Cherry Hill Photo.
But when we tried to ask them if they do background checks-- they refused to answer any questions.
Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Doucette says there are only two jobs that the Code of Virginia prohibits registered sex offenders from holding-- -a school bus driver, and a tow truck driver.
And of course they're prohibited from being near schools, parks and the like.